Houston (Fiers) -130 at Oakland (Graveman) O/U 8.5
Houston has been rolling for nearly two months now going 33-14 since May 24. Throughout the run, their pitching has been a major contributor the success. During this 47 game stretch, the Astros have allowed three runs or less 26 times (55.3%). Tonight’s starter Mike Fiers has not been consistently good this season but in eight of his last 12 starts he has limited the opposition to two runs or less. Included in there is his 7 IP, 0 BB, 2 ER performance right here versus the A’s on April 29. Just as impressive has been Oakland RH Kendall Graveman’s recent 10-game string where he has yielded two runs or less eight times. In that mix is his dominant effort just nine days ago in which he went eight innings and allowed only five baserunners and two runs against this Houston lineup. Shifting to bullpen notes, the Astros relief corps can’t be ignored here as they’ve been just as instrumental in the 33-14 run as any segment of the team. Since May 24, the group is 14-2 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. The Astros have all four of their key arms available tonight to help Fiers out which is a significant plus. Having starting LH Rich Hill exit in the first inning yesterday put a strain on the A’s pen but it did not affect their top two arms and bridge to closer duo of Dull and Madson. Expect this game to be pitching dominated and the run production tough to come by. Since this is the start of the series, the HP umpire is unknown right now but even without that information, it’s worth a play on the under.